Working paper Open Access

Artificial intelligence and intellectual property: copyright and patents

Kretschmer, Martin; Meletti, Bartolomeo; Porangaba, Luis H

The UK Intellectual Property Office consulted between October 2021 and January 2022 on policy options for Intellectual Property Law interventions that could ‘secure the UK’s position amongst the global AI superpowers’, in line with the government’s national AI Strategy (September 2021) and the vision ‘to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035’ (UK Innovation Strategy, July 2021). CREATe, the Copyright and Creative Economy Centre at the University of Glasgow, submitted a response on behalf of the AHRC PEC.

We show that policy makers are in a difficult position to assess reform proposals relating to Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property because evidence remains scarce.

With respect to computer-generated works and patent inventorship, we urge caution. There is no evidence that new rights are needed. The onus of proof needs to lie with the proponents of much discussed proposals, such as offering AI copyright authorship in the guise of computer-generated works, or granting AI inventorship under patent law.

With respect to Text and Data Mining, we see a straightforward opportunity to stimulate UK innovation and improve the transparency of AI systems by opening up the current ‘Hargreaves’ exception to all users (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988: s.29A, Copies for text and data analysis for non-commercial research).

More generally, the UK’s research and innovation environment would in our view benefit from a technologically neutral, open-ended user exception (akin to the copyright doctrine of ‘fair use’ in the US).

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